• Steven Heller

Grotesques Make Dynamic Design

Imagine working as a designer for a manufacturing company that produces consumables like pots, pans, ducts, mats, vats and other steel and iron stuff. Nothing glamorous but in need of your talent. Do you think you could make ads or catalog covers that would excite them and you? Could you take a boring machine and make it alluring without dolling it up in retouching?

One of the ideas behind Die Neue Typographie was to employ geometry and typography (and particularly Grotesque typefaces) as a means to transcend the commonplace into dynamic design. Not everything the new typographers of the 1920s touched was suited for such treatment, but they tried. These are some German examples of what might be called typo-modernism at work. And the designers didn’t have to come from the Bauhaus to make asymmetry and simplicity work for them.

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